A former Senate Leader, Teslim Folarin, has said that Speaker of the House of Representatives and other principal officers of the House did nothing wrong as far as allegations of budget padding were concerned.
According to the former Senate Leader, “it is not possible for any legislator to smuggle strange items into the budget”.
The former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, accused House leadership of padding the budget with constituency projects to the tune of over N40 billion. Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers named have denied the allegation.
In a chat with reporters on Friday at the eight-day Fidau of his mother, Alhaja Sidikat Folarin, in Ibadan, Teslim Folarin said that provision for constituency projects for lawmakers was not a crime.
“I don’t understand what padding means. When people say ‘padding,’ what do they mean? When the executive submits the budget to the parliament, the lawmakers are expected to go through the budget. They are not robots that will just rubber-stamp whatever the executive brings. In their wisdom, they can increase or decrease it. So, I don’t understand. But once it is established that the budget has not been used for personal thing, I don’t understand.
“It is not possible for any legislator to smuggle strange items into the budget. Before you pass a budget, legislators have to look at the items one-by-one. In that process, if anyone sees anything suspicious they raise an alarm. So, I don’t understand what they mean by padding”.
Commenting on the crisis rocking his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Folarin said the crisis was expected especially after the party’s loss at the last elections.
“The PDP will overcome its current challenge. It is a phase that will pass. It is a party that used to have Mr President and, suddenly, there is no such figure again. It is the same problem we have in Oyo PDP. But we are going to put our acts together”, he said.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi was one of those who attended the Fidau prayers. Folarin said he was grateful to the governor and other dignitaries among whom were members of the Olubadan-in-Council.
“I’m very grateful to everyone who has taken time from their busy schedule to attend my mum’s faidau. It also shows you that in Ibadan, we are one. We come from the same compound. To the outside world, you may see us fighting but when it is time to come together we come together. We support each other.”